EL6004 - Vamps and Virgins: Gothic Sexualities

What will I learn on this module?

From Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Christabel (1816) to Alan Ball’s True Blood (2008-), this module invites you to explore the dark, shadowy world of the Gothic in relation to a diverse range of literary texts and modern media. Combining the study of familiar canonical fictions with new and challenging material, we will train our focus on the enigmatic figure of the vampire, examining its various transitions and developments through the lens of critical and cultural theory.

Through an analysis of the Gothic, the module aims to develop your critical thinking, as well as your existing knowledge of literature, film, and television dating from 1816 to the present day. In doing so, it will encourage you to reflect on and interrogate the complex ways in which Gothic texts engage with, and intervene in, broader cultural debates about gender and sexuality.

How will I learn on this module?

1 x weekly 1.5-hour lecture
1 x weekly 1.5-hour seminar

This module will be delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars. Each week, a 1.5-hour lecture will establish the critical and contextual framework for the text or texts under discussion, a framework which will be both reinforced and queried in a 1.5-hour seminar. The seminar will then provide you with the opportunity to explore the texts discursively through small-group exercises, presentations, and debate.

In addition to learning during contact hours with the module tutor, you will be expected to undertake both directed and independent learning. Directed learning will usually take the form of preparation for seminars, where you will be expected to contribute to discussion. Informal presentations, as well as group work, will be used in order to facilitate your engagement with the module texts. Independent learning generally will take the form of further reading and investigation, the consolidation of seminar notes, and revision/preparation for the module assessments.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Through lectures, seminars and the preparatory tasks for these taught sessions you will be encouraged to engage with the primary, secondary, theoretical and contextual material covered on the module in ways that will enable you to meet the learning aims and outcomes of Vamps and Virgins: Gothic Sexualities. The module handbook provides details of lectures, seminars, reading lists, and assessment criteria; lecture PowerPoint slides are made available on the e-learning portal. The module tutor will be available in lectures and seminars, as well as in office hours and on email/phone, to discuss any queries or concerns you have about how to excel academically on the module. Moreover, feedback in seminars, on formative work, and on the first summative assessment will also serve as ‘feed forward’, giving you guidance on how to improve during the module. In addition, you have a designated Guidance Tutor throughout the entire duration of your programme. The academic side of the Guidance Tutor’s role includes:
• monitoring your ongoing academic progress
• helping you to develop self-reflection skills necessary for continuous academic development
• directing you to further available services which can help them with their academic skills (e.g. Library’s Skills Plus)

You are advised to see your Guidance Tutor at least twice each semester to review your academic progress. The Guidance Booklet, which you receive at the start of your first year, includes structured materials designed to help you develop your self-reflection skills. These materials underpin the academic side of the regular Guidance meetings, helping you to learn how to use the feedback you receive on your assignments, how to build on your strengths, and how to improve in the areas where you could perform better.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
• an advanced knowledge of the critical issues that surround the concept of the gothic.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• the ability to delineate the social, political and cultural issues in a range of popular gothic texts.
• the ability to employ theoretical and critical material in relation to a range of literary texts and other media.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
• an enhanced understanding of cultural debates about gender and sexuality, and the ways in which gothic texts intervene in these debates.
• the ability to express an informed argument in oral and written forms.

How will I be assessed?

Formative (practice) assessment

1. Essay Plan and Bibliography
In this formative assessment, you will begin to source and organise the primary and secondary materials that will form the basis of your 3000-word essay assignment. You will produce a 500-word essay plan and bibliography that outlines the argument you plan to advance in the final essay assignment. This task will enable you to develop key skills in literary analysis, research methods, and essay writing, and to prepare and test your ideas before committing yourself to an argument or position. This assessment addresses KU1 and IPSA 1 & 2.

Summative (graded) assessment

1. 1000-word critical comparison exercise (30%)
You will conduct a comparative analysis of two scholarly articles, both of which will deal directly with one of the module texts. This exercise will assess your ability to engage with and evaluate different critical approaches to a key set text, and challenge you to present your own argument in clear and convincing terms. It will also provide you with the opportunity to develop your skills in research, textual analysis, and communication. Feedback will be provided using the Departmental template and comments on the script, and before the submission date for the second summative piece, allowing ‘feed forward’. This assessment addresses KU1, IPSA 2 and PVA 2.

2. 3000-word essay (70%)
This summative assessment will provide you with the opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of gothic texts and contexts in light of recent theoretical approaches. It is designed to build on skills and knowledge acquired during the formative work, and will enable you to respond positively to feedback and to reflect critically upon your academic practices. Feedback will be provided using the Departmental template and comments on the script. This assessment addresses KU 1, IPSA 1 and PVA 1 & 2.

Together, the assessment tasks are designed to ensure that you engage in a range of guided and semi-independent tasks, address a range of sources, and refer to all parts of the syllabus.





Module abstract

Please find details of this module in the other sections provided.

Course info

UCAS Code Q320

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years Full Time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Humanities

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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